Legislatures across the country are ready to begin their work for 2023, including many bills related to public education at all levels. In terms of financial literacy education, it appears that the state of Indiana is leading the nation as we celebrate the new year! Senate Bill 35, which is up for the current legislative session, would require all high school students to complete a personal financial literacy course for graduation beginning with the class of 2027. The bill is authored by Republican state senator Mike Gaskill and would apply to all state-accredited schools, including charter and non-public (private) schools.
Gaskill’s bill has a solid chance of becoming law thanks to its inception with bipartisan support. Last fall, an interim education committee, including lawmakers from both parties, approved a handful of education proposals. Although the proposal approved by the committee did not directly include a proposal to create a mandatory personal financial literacy class for high school students, it shows that Indiana legislators are relatively united in the belief that teenagers should be learning more real-world financial knowledge. While some legislators want financial literacy to be added to existing math classes, Gaskill wants a separate course to provide greater depth of knowledge. Hopefully, the state legislature will agree with Mr. Gaskill and realize that personal financial literacy should be given its own course within the high school curriculum.
High School Student Creates His Own Nonprofit to Boost K-8 Financial Literacy
Fortunately, state senator Gaskill is not the only one pushing hard for improved financial literacy among Indiana’s students. High school junior Isaac Hertenstein, of Greencastle High School, is an avid proponent of financial literacy and created his own nonprofit, Students Teaching Finance, when he began high school. His goal is for high school students to “pay it forward” by teaching the financial literacy skills they have learned to younger students in grades K-8. Having teachers as parents helped Hertenstein get his organization started on a strong educational footing.
Thus far, scores of high school students working with Isaac Hertenstein have taught elementary students the basics of supply and demand, saving, and investing. Students Teaching Finance uses high-quality content created in consultation with community members and finance-affiliated university professors. Fortunately, this content is available for free online, and interested teachers and high school students can start their own chapter of this invaluable nonprofit. High school juniors and seniors looking for community service hours to assist with college admission and scholarship applications could supercharge their resumes and help younger students by joining Students Teaching Finance.
Isaac Hertenstein is not the only citizen helping young people with personal finance this year: Destiny Alexander of Durham, North Carolina, is also helping out. Her nonprofit, known as P.O.O.F. for Planning Our Own Future, is educating over twenty teens about saving, investing, and entrepreneurship. Similar to Students Teaching Finance, those who learn the finance skills in P.O.O.F. will “pay it forward” by teaching others through presentations. As we head further into 2023, more motivated philanthropists and educators should create their own nonprofits to educate teens about financial literacy!